Feast of St. Ambrose in Italy in 2023

Feast of St. Ambrose in Italy in 2023

  How long until Feast of St. Ambrose?
Feast of St. Ambrose
  Dates of Feast of St. Ambrose in Italy
2024 Milan Sun, Dec 8 Regional Holiday
2023 Milan Fri, Dec 8 Regional Holiday
2022 Milan Wed, Dec 7 Regional Holiday
2021 Milan Tue, Dec 7 Regional Holiday
2020 Milan Mon, Dec 7 Regional Holiday
  Summary

Milan only. Saint Ambrose was an archbishop of Milan during the 4th century

  Local name
Festa di Sant'Ambrogio

When is the Feast of Saint Ambrose?

This holiday is always celebrated on December 7th each year. As the next day is a national holiday in Italy for the Feast of the Immaculate Conceptions, this creates a two-day break in Milan, which kicks starts the Christmas shopping season.

History of the Feast of Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose was an archbishop of Milan during the 4th century.

He became an important ecclesiastical figure of his time and was one of the four original doctors of the Church.

Saint Ambrose was sometimes known as the 'Honey-Tongued Doctor'. He got this nickname from the story that when he was a baby, it was said that a swarm of bees started crawling around his mouth. However, instead of stinging him, they left honey on his lips.

This tale also explains why in addition to Milan, he is the patron saint of beekeepers and candlemakers.

How is the Feast of Saint Ambrose celebrated?

The Milanese love Christmas, and start the festivities early on the feast day of the city's patron saint, Saint Ambrose, with the fair known as Oh Bej! Oh Bej! literally meaning 'So beautiful! So beautiful!'.

Although the market has been held for eight centuries, its name dates back to 1510. In that year, Pope Pius IV sent an emissary to revive the faith of the Milanesi, suspected of lacking enthusiasm for the Church. Fearing an unfriendly reception, the emissary prepared sweets and toys for local children who greeted them with cries of Oh bei! Oh bej!

The fair takes the form of a street market arranged around the Saint's Basilica, offering everything from antique stalls and buskers to roast chestnuts and candy floss.

The fair provides an excellent opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and is particularly enjoyed by children.

The Saint's day also coincides with the opening of the season of the world-famous Milan La Scala Opera.

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